UIL punishment fair for coaches in controversial hit on referee

by: NICK ALVARADO/Editorial Assistant

In early September, a controversial hit on a referee made headlines across the nation.

Two players from John Jay High School in San Antonio intentionally hit a referee. The Marble Falls Police Department launched their own investigation as soon the incident was reported.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” on Sept. 18, both John Jay players stated in the interview that “I was doing what I was told.” Both players regret the incident and have been placed in an alternative school.

Ever since the incident occurred on Sept. 4, the University Interscholastic League, the Marble Falls Police Department, the Texas Association of Sports Officials and the Northside Independent School District have all launched their own investigations. With hearings being held monthly, the UIL has been very patient with investigation reports and created a sports official board for incidents like this before the school year began.

Before the second hearing, John Jay assistant coach Mack Breed resigned from coaching. During the Oct. 15 hearing, the UIL voted unanimously to suspend Breed from extra-curricular activities for two years. After not attending the hearing in September, Breed attended the Oct. 15 hearing so he could “clear his name,” asking for another chance while in tears. Breed also claimed that he said expletives out loud. Also testifying in the meeting would be referee Robert Watts. Watts would state that he “never used any racial slurs at anyone,” during the game and “never heard any racial slurs from players.”

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The UIL also voted to publicly reprimand the head coach of John Jay, Gary Gutierrez, and place him on probation for two years. The TASO also made a statement on their investigation, stating that “After interviewing 20 people, no one has been able to confirm that anyone used a racial slur.” The TASO also stated that they found “no fault concerning Watts.”

As the head coach came up to the stand, the UIL committee stated that, “he let the issue get out of hand and should have taken responsibility. Gutierrez stated that “he is looking back on the incident to learn from it.”

All in all, the UIL did what they needed to in order to be thorough in the investigations that the TASO, Northside Independent School District and the Marble Falls Police Department conducted and deliver the punishments that were necessary for both the coaches and the players. With the Marble Falls Police investigation ongoing, it is unknown whether the players will face assault charges.

People on social media are against the players being placed in an alternative school. But we should all recognize the hard job the referees have in calling a game. All officials are not perfect, but they try their best.  to call a great game.

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